Chicago Cubs: Which Cubs are most likely to be traded?

(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /
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#3. Kyle Schwarber

Kyle Schwarber struggled for much of 2017. Speculation that he would be traded for pitching preceded the deadline. Schwarber steadily improved during the second half. He learned to hit the opposite way more frequently. His ability to hit lefties increased. Despite his improvements, his defensive inconsistencies will always invite talk of Schwarber being moved to the American League.

Why the Cubs will trade Schwarber

Schwarber isn’t the player the Cubs thought he was when they drafted him. He’s showed blips of greatness, but sustained mediocrity. Much of his success has come on big stage which has made Cubs’ fans overvalue him.

When the league started shifting on Schwarber regularly in 2017, his productivity dropped off. The shift has ruined careers in the past; ask Ryan Howard. Schwarber’s career could fall victim to the shift before it even truly begins.

If Schwarber can conquer his struggles against the shift and left-handed pitching, he would still be a liability on defense. In the American League, Schwarber could be a designated hitter. His defensive inefficiencies would become irrelevant to his game.

Why the Cubs won’t trade Schwarber

The risk that comes with trading Schwarber is apparent: he might be that good. His 2017 campaign could ultimately be an outlier in a career defined by offensive dominance. In the latter half of the season, he improved on his weaknesses, and that upward trend should continue.

Theo Epstein vehemently defended Schwarber even at his lowest points. When Schwarber missed most of the 2016 season with an injury, Epstein included him in important meetings all year. Schwarber is as essential to the Cubs’ core and future as Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo.

If the Cubs move Schwarber, he’ll play his prime years in another city. His value will never be lower than it is right now, so the return would not likely be worth giving up a guy with a ceiling as high as Schwarber’s.